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Island rivals set for bruising RLWC clash

Samoa coach Matt Parish insists there are more than just local bragging rights at stake when his side take on Pacific Island rivals Fiji in Sunday's World Cup quarter-final.
Island rivals set for bruising RLWC clash
by AAP

By Nathan Miles

WARRINGTON, England, Nov 16 AFP - Samoa coach Matt Parish insists there are more than just local bragging rights at stake when his side take on Pacific Island rivals Fiji in Sunday's World Cup quarter-final.

A spot in the last four is a glittering potential prize for Parish's team in Warrington, but there is also the added bonus of sealing a spot in the 2014 Four Nations.

Samoa, who come into the quarter-final clash on the back of a 22-6 win over France, have yet to reach the last four of a World Cup.

And despite being without the suspended Leeson Ah Mau after their ill-tempered victory in Perpignan, they come into the clash on a roll.

Having lost their tournament opener to defending champions New Zealand, they have now won two from two in their trademark hard-hitting style.

And Parish said there would be no quarter given against Fiji in a clash that promises to be the most physically brutal of the tournament so far.

"We wanted to be physical against France, because again we knew that the French crowd would certainly fire them up, so we knew we had to stand up to them and I thought the boys played terrific," he said.

"But now we are, as I said, all our energies are going into Warrington on Sunday against Fiji.

"It will be certainly very physical. It's a spot in the final four, also whoever wins this will be in next year's Four Nations which is massive for either country who can do it for the development of rugby league in that country.

"It's going to be a massive game and something that we're all really looking forward to.

While Samoa are on a two-match winning run, Fiji have lost their last two including a second-half blow out against England last weekend in Group A that saw the Islanders go down to a 34-12 defeat.

They too are hamstrung in selection with Korbin Sims handed a two-match ban for a dangerous tackle in the loss to England.

"It's a collision game and unfortunately you're not in control of everything once you hit each other at high speed and different things like that," Fiji coach Rick Stone said.

"The Samoa team is packed full of NRL experience, so they're a highly-rated opponent, and we've got a few players of our own with NRL experience. But it should still be a good game."


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